Energy 101: Concentrating Solar Power

bjbj Take the natural heat from the sun, reflect
it against a mirror, focus all of that heat on one area, send it through a power system,
and you've got a renewable way of making electricity. It's called concentrating solar power, or
CSP. Now, there are many types of CSP technologies. Towers, dishes, linear mirrors, and troughs.
Have a look at this parabolic trough system.

Parabolic troughs are large mirrors shaped
like a giant "U." These troughs are connected together in long lines and will track the
sun throughout the day. When the sun's heat is reflected off the mirror, the curved shape
sends most of that reflected heat onto a receiver. The receiver tube is filled a fluid. It could
be oil, molten salt something that holds the heat well. Basically, this super hot liquid
heats water in this thing called a heat exchanger and the water turns to steam. The steam is
sent off to a turbine, and from there, it's business as usual inside a power plant. A
steam turbine spins a generator and the generator makes electricity. Once the fluid transfers
it heat, it's recycled and used over and over. And the steam is also cooled, condensed and
recycled again and again. One big advantage of these trough systems is that the heated
fluid can be stored and used later to keep making electricity when the sun isn't shining.
Sunny skies and hot temperatures make the southwest U.S.

An ideal place for these kinds
of power plants. Many concentrated solar power plants could be built within the next several
years. And a single plant can generate 250 megawatts or more, which is enough to power
about 90,000 homes. That's a lot of electricity to meet America's power needs. [Content_Types].xml
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